I post here daily about what we accomplished in class each day, including handouts and links available to students on my CANVAS site.
Wednesday, 4/25 -- Day 13 of Quarter 4
Right at the bell, I collected from students their WWII unit book preferences sheet.
We then began class by applying the comma rules discussed yesterday to a series of sentences, some of which needed commas, and some of which did not. Both the comma rules and the practice exercise are available on Canvas.
Next, students discussed at their tables the four comprehension/evaluation questions from Chapters 20-22 of Things Fall Apart. We then watched a video of an interview with the author, Chinua Achebe to understand his purposes in writing this novel and what it has come to mean to those who read it. Both of these perspectives (author's purpose and reader's response) help us to understand and look for the themes in the novel. Finally, students identified which of their annotated significant quotes in Chapters 20-22 exemplified those themes (purposes or responses).
Homework: Finish reading the book (chapters 23-25) and annotate for chapter title, vocabulary, and significant quotes.
Day 12 of Quarter 4
Today, we took a quiz on Part 2 of Things Fall Apart, including vocabulary from List 2. It took students an average of 45 minutes to complete the quiz, after which they read independently until everyone was finished. Reading options today included self-selected novels, tonight's homework assignment in TFA, or reading to preview one of the WWII books that are options for our next unit. Once everyone finished the quiz, we started a discussion of the short unit on punctuation rules that is our next grammar focus. We will spend the most time on comma rules, and students today learned an acronym to help them determine when a comma is needed in their own writing: IF I SCAN. I instructed them to memorize the acronym and what each letter stands for, starting immediately.
Homework: Read and annotate Chapters 20-22 in TFA Part 3 (~20 pages). Rank choices for WWII/Inhumanity Literature Circle unit on the handout to turn in tomorrow.
At the beginning of class, I collected the research introductory handout where students told me their preferences for topic assignment. I will create groups and we will get started on the research next week. Next, I talked briefly about our next handout -- options for a book to read for our WWII/Inhumanity to Man unit. Students need to read about those options and rank their choices by Wednesday of this week. I will assign those books to students by Friday, and they will be responsible for getting/borrowing a copy in about a week.
We then reviewed vocabulary words 11-15 on our 2nd list from Things Fall Apart. Tomorrow students will take a quiz on Part 2 of the novel, and they will need to use vocabulary words from the list in their responses to questions about the main ideas from each chapter. After vocabulary, students worked in their groups to answer questions and share information about the six chapters in Part 2. These questions are very similar to the quiz questions about the main ideas in each chapter of Part 2. Students can continue to review these questions tonight to prepare for the quiz AND plan for which vocabulary words most logically connect to those main ideas (2 per chapter).
Homework: Prepare for Part 2 quiz: Complete chapter titles on handout to use during the quiz. Connect vocabulary words to main concepts in each chapter. Study those definitions and be able to answer questions from today's discussion groups. ** Complete ranking of WWII literature circle options to turn in on Wednesday.
Friday, 4/20 -- Day 10 of Quarter 4
We started class with an overview of the next 5 words on Vocabulary List 2 from Things Fall Apart. Next, we watched John Green's Crash Course Literature video on Things Fall Apart Part 1 (see below). From that, we identified several main ideas (themes) that tie together the events of Okonkwo's life and the story of his community, Umuofia. The final main idea is what Green calls "the failure of human beings to see others as human beings." This idea of "inhumanity" is the focus of our upcoming research project, so I then gave everyone an introduction handout on the research project that they will complete for homework this weekend.
For the final 30 minutes of class, students had time to work on the individual projects from Part I of Things Fall Apart (due at the end of class), read and annotate chapters 18-19 in Part 2 (due Monday), or work on the "Man's Inhumanity to Man" handout (due Monday).
Homework: Read/annotate chapters 18-19 to complete Part 2 of Things Fall Apart. Quiz on Part 2 with List 2 vocabulary is on Tuesday. Answer the questions on "Man's Inhumanity to Man" handout and preview/select top 3 research topics from the list provided.
Thursday, 4/19 -- Day 9 of Quarter 4
At the beginning of class today, students looked up definitions, synonyms, and antonyms for Vocab. List 2 from Things Fall Apart. At the same time, students shared laptops or used personal devices to upload their rhetorical essays to Turnitin.com. They also collated their rubric, printed copy, outline, and annotated speech into a packet to turn in to me in person.
Once everyone had essay materials submitted, we reviewed the first five words on the vocabulary list. For the last 30+ minutes of class, groups worked on and finished their group project for Part I of Things Fall Apart. Group projects were turned in to me at the end of class. Individual projects are due tomorrow. The two projects together will combine for a minor assessment grade.
Homework: Read chapters 16-17 in Part 2 of Things Fall Apart. Work on individual project so that it's ready to turn in by the end of class tomorrow (you will have some time to work on the project in class).
Wednesday, 4/18 -- Day 8 of Quarter 4
Today, we graded the vocabulary quizzes at the beginning of class and then went over submission requirements for the Caesar Rhetorical Analysis paper due tomorrow. Papers must follow rules for MLA formatting, which students can check on pages 5-6 in the Writer's Reference Guide. They will turn in a printed copy of the paper, the rubric, their outline (2 quotes per each appeal with translation and explanation), and the annotated speech. Everyone will upload their Google Doc to Turnitin.com during class tomorrow. Students absent tomorrow must upload their Google Doc before the end of class as well, which means doing so Wednesday night, or Thursday from home if home sick.
For the second half of class, groups worked together on their group poster project, which is also due tomorrow. They will have some class time to work on the project tomorrow as well, which means they have worked together for 3 class periods on the project (close to 2 hours with 4-5 people working together). Individual projects are due in class on Friday.
Homework: Finalize Caesar essay for submission, print a copy to turn in, find or print new copies of rubric, outline, and speech (from Canvas: Mini-unit on Julius Caesar). Read chapters 14-15 in Part 2 of Things Fall Apart. Add chapter titles to handout for upcoming Part 2 quiz.
Tuesday, 4/17 -- Day 7 of Quarter 4
Class started with the vocabulary quiz on List 1 from Things Fall Apart. Students who finished in less than 35 minutes had time to read independently, either in their book of choice or in Things Fall Apart. After everyone finished the quiz, groups worked together on their group poster project, which is due on Thursday (including time in class Thursday to finish the poster).
Homework: Make additional revisions to essay based on feedback from your initial revisions. Catch up on reading in TFA if needed. We will start reading Part 2 on Wednesday.
Day 6 of Quarter 4
Today, we started class with a vocabulary review activity, in preparation for tomorrow's vocabulary quiz on List 1 from Things Fall Apart. After the review, students worked in pairs to practice the literary analysis process I demonstrated for them on Friday. They selected a significant quote from their annotation of any chapter in Part I, identified the literary devices at work in that quote (the Core 4 plus any others), planned an explanation of the meaning for each device, and then wrote a paragraph about the quote using each literary device and its meaning. Those who finished the literary analysis practice with time to spare got started on tonight's reading assignment: chapters 11-13 (the final section of Part I in TFA).
Homework: Study for the vocabulary quiz tomorrow and read/annotate chapters 11-13.
Friday, the 13th
Day 5 of Quarter 4
We started again today with vocabulary, reviewing the final 5 words on our list 1 from Things Fall Apart. We will review those words on Monday, and take the quiz on Tuesday. Next, we (finally) talked about selecting significant quotes and what to do with them (literary analysis). The purpose today was just to help students in their selection process as they pick two significant quotes per chapter as part of their annotation. Next week, we will work more on the written analysis of those significant quotes. Lastly, I gave everyone about 30 minutes of time to read and annotate for this weekend's reading, chapters 9-10. During this time, students could also conference with me about revisions to their Caesar essays or read in their independent book selections.
Homework: Complete revision in another 2 paragraphs of the Caesar essay, marking revisions in the Google document in bold font. Read/annotate chapters 9-10.
Day 4 of Quarter 4
We started class with a review of vocabulary words 6-10 from TFA List 1. Next, students met briefly in their discussion groups from yesterday to conclude their sharing of information on the cultural background of the Ibo tribe during the time of the novel's events. After the groups concluded their discussions, we spent some time in a whole class discussion about the comparisons/contrasts between the Ibo culture and American culture and/or other cultures the students have experienced. My goal for this discussion is for students to identify and acknowledge their own cultural biases prior to reading the book so that we can all be aware of the difference between understanding the text and interpreting the text through the lens of cultural bias.
For the last 20-25 minutes of class, table groups looked at the project options for Part I and chose a group project and their individual projects. We will work on these during class next week, but students can start accumulating information for the projects as they read/annotate the text. After making those decisions, students read for the final stretch of class, either to complete reading/annotating chapters 4-6 or to start on tonight's reading, chapters 7-8.
Homework: Read/annotate chapters 7-8. Begin working on Caesar essay revision, making changes in bold in the Google doc (make sure the Google doc is shared with me).
Day 3 of Quarter 4
Our agenda today included review of vocabulary terms 1-5 from List 1 in Things Fall Apart, explanations and work on annotations in Chapters 1-3, and discussion groups who were putting together their understandings from various excerpts in the book about the cultural setting of the novel. Apart from voting on our champion IRT books from the March Madness experience, we did not have time to read IRT books in class today. :'-(
Homework: Finish peer reviews by 11:59 PM on Turnitin.com. Continue to read and annotate in Part I of Things Fall Apart, Chapters 4-6.
Allison Houck, MAT